When it comes to workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations are the minimum required standards that ensure the well being and security of employees in the workplace. These regulations are a crucial aspect of running a responsible and compliant business, but OSHA training should not stop at just meeting the minimum requirements. It’s essential that employers not only comply with OSHA regulations, but also go above and beyond to ensure the safety and wellness of their employees. In this blog, we will highlight the importance of OSHA training and why it’s critical to go beyond the minimum requirements.
The Importance of Comprehensive Training
OSHA training covers the basic safety regulations required by law. However, it’s important to understand that these regulations are only a starting point. Comprehensive training programs based on the specifics hazards and tasks of a workplace should be implemented to ensure that employees have the knowledge and skills required to identify and mitigate potential hazards in the workplace. This may include training in safety procedures, hazard analysis, emergency response, and personal protective equipment.
Additionally, for training to be complete, there needs to be the incorporation of production metrics. There's a big difference in the training and skill needed to go to the far end of a workplace, away from most people and processes, to get the hand of operating a forklift, and keeping up with offloading several flat bed trucks in a timely manner.
This is important because if an employee is put into a situation where they don't have the total skill needed to do the job, it will inevitably become a safety hazard. That's why for safety training to be comprehensive and effective, it must incorporate production metrics. By prioritizing comprehensive training, employers are not only meeting OSHA regulations, but they are also investing in the safety and well being of their employees.
General Benefits of Going Beyond Training for OSHA
By going above and beyond OSHA regulations, employers can benefit from reduced accidents, lower insurance costs, and increased productivity. Investing in safety training, safety equipment, and safety procedures shows that an employer values protecting its human resources, which are its employees. In turn, employees are more likely to feel valued and take pride in their work, leading to higher levels of productivity. By prioritizing a safe workplace, employers can also reduce the costs associated with accidents and injuries. Additionally, going above and beyond OSHA regulations can give an employer a competitive advantage in the marketplace, as potential clients or partners are more likely to want to work with organizations that prioritize safety and responsibility.
For some, it's a hard thing to consider going further than you need to a good thing. So, if it makes things easier to swallow, don't think of going above and beyond OSHA requirements as truly going above and beyond in general. Your operation has specific hazards that require safeguarding in ways that OSHA may not fully account for. And the law that founded OSHA and its standards, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, has something called a general duty clause.
The gist of the general duty clause is that it requires employers to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards. So, just because you may have complied with the letter of a regulatory standard doesn't mean that you are meeting the general duty clause. If an employee got hurt from something recognized as a potential hazard, the law requires you to go as far as needed to offer adequate protection.
The Role of Management
The implementation of OSHA regulations and comprehensive training programs is not solely the responsibility of the safety team or human resources The role of management is critical in creating a safe workplace culture. This includes facilitating safety training and promoting adherence to safety policies. Managers should also lead by example, following safety procedures and being aware of potential hazards in the workplace. Additionally, management should create an open line of communication with employees, allowing them to voice any safety concerns they may have. By engaging everyone in the safety process, employers can create a culture of safety that benefits everyone.
Management, from the front line to the C suite, needs to adopt the philosophy of setting their workplaces and employees up for success, and then ensuring compliance is an ongoing occurrence. A great meany job tasks require more than just safety training. They require the tools, time, and any other resource needed to complete the swing in accomplishing that safety task or job. All the resources in the world won't matter if employees aren't held accountable and corrected when they make honest or willful mistakes. People tend to do what you check and not what you merely tell them.
The Long-Term Benefits
Prioritizing safety training and going above and beyond OSHA regulations can have long-term benefits beyond reduced accidents and increased productivity. Investing in an organization’s most valuable resource – its employees – can result in higher employee retention rates and employee satisfaction. This is huge, because it takes time to get a new person up to speed if you have a high turn over rate. This is especially true if you are loosing trained, knowledgeable people for roles requiring a high degree of specialized skills. High employee satisfaction and retention, in turn, can lead to a positive public image and increased customer loyalty. It's a very good look to treat your people like the valuable human beings they are. It's even better if they sing the company's praises in their community. I'd call that great word of mouth marketing. By prioritizing safety in the workplace, employers can create a culture that benefits everyone involved, and that has lasting positive impacts.
In conclusion, while OSHA regulations are an essential standard of workplace safety, they should not be the only or primary focus of safety training and procedures. Comprehensive safety training, going above and beyond regulations, and promoting a safety-conscious culture are all critical aspects of creating a safe and healthy workplace. By investing in safety, employers can benefit from reduced accidents, lower insurance costs, increased productivity, and a positive public image. Ultimately, investing in employee safety pays off in the long run – creating a positive workplace culture for employees, employers, and customers alike.